But the tears shed were those of pride, not of distress--as the film recalled what happened on board the fateful flight as Americans chose to rush terrorists and give their lives to save politicians in Washington, D.C., where the plane was heading.
Instead of crashing into the heart of American politics, the flight plummeted into a field in rural Pennsylvania, killing everyone onboard.
Jan Snyder, whose daughter Christine was on the doomed flight, was among the family and friends of those killed in the audience. She says, "It's time for this. The public needs to know, they need to remember and know what the families have gone through."
Those who watched the film at the festival sat in silence when the screen went dark as the crash landing of the United 93 flight was simulated.
And then members of the audience and the invited relatives of the heroes started sobbing.
After the premiere, festival co-founder Robert De Niro said, "It's a story that honors bravery."
Officials believe Flight 93, carrying 40 passengers and crew plus the four hijackers, was headed for the White House or the Capitol.
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